Top Chef is one of our favorite shows and we couldn’t be more excited about the new season. We are: Annie Block and Stephanie Reay. We’ll be recapping every episode here on the Zapwater blog this season to share our thoughts, comments and concerns.

Bravo’s Top Chef returned last night for its ninth season with “Top Chef: Texas,” and it was bigger than ever.

The night started with an overwhelming number of contestants. 29 chefs competed for an official spot on the show’s Top 16. The chefs were separated into 3 groups to compete in a serious of qualifying competitions to win their official Top Chef coat. We did like the new twist on last night’s episode, but there were too many people and things’ happening to really focus on what was being prepared.

The best part from last night’s episode was the strong representation from Chicago. There were a total of 6 local chefs in the competition, and 5 of them advanced to the Top 16. However, we won’t know the final 16 because the episode was abruptly cut-off before the third group was judged. I guess we’ll have to wait until next week!

Other random thoughts:

- We loved the duo from Moto – especially that pork-stuffed caramel apple dish - Judge Tom Colicchio’s tough demeanor toward the cocky Tyler Stone was very impressive. He was forced to pack up his knives only 5 minutes into the show! - We’re not too sure on how we feel about Emeril’s involvement – he seemed to agree with everything Tom said and never gave any real feedback. We already miss previous judges Anthony Bourdain & Eric Ripert.

What did you think of the episode?

Annie Block & Stephanie Reay